25 Inspiring Books Every Student Must Read Before They Graduate

“As if you were on fire from within.

The moon lives in the lining of your skin.”

——- Pablo Neruda

Books For Every College Student

Almost every college student has the desire to be tagged as an intellectual. If you too have this fascination, then get that spark in you. Knowledge can only help you keep that fire burning within you. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” (said by Dr. Seuss). Take a look at the books that you must read before you graduate. Whether inspirational, informative, or witty, we have something for all types of grads.

1. This Side Of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Princeton student who becomes completely disillusioned with life after graduating from college is the main protagonist of this classic novel. He discovers that world behind the walls of his college is totally different. This “quest novel” chronicles how he looks for his own self again. Being a college student, you must read this novel so that you can prepare yourself to face all the ups and downs.

2. Looking For Alaska – John Green

This novel encompasses love, redemption, loss, friendship and guilt. The story revolves around the life of a high school junior, Miles. He falls in love with a girl named Alaska. The author beautifully draws a realistic picture of the lives of these teenagers. This plot seems familiar to almost every college student. Isn’t it?

3. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

This is a satirical novel. Aldous Huxley visualizes a utopian future where human beings do not fit into the system. He implicitly warns the readers about the impending threats posed by technology. Is it okay to accept the things as they always have been? Or is it necessary to fight against all the wrongs? To explore the answers to these questions, read this book before you graduate.

4. Freedom – Jonathan Franzen

With a narrative impulse, this novel tells a story about love triangle and relationship. Protagonists of this modern classic first met in college. What will they choose:  friendship or love? How will they overcome such difficult situations? You should read this novel to understand all the complexities of life.

5. One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This is one of the most famous contemporary novels. This chronicles the history of the family, the Buendias and an isolated town of Macondo. One Hundred Year Of Solitude teaches us about the value and importance of family and friends. This is a must-read book for all college students.

6. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

This novel presents the ugly truth of life. This is a nostalgic story of friendship and true love. Toru Watanabe, the main protagonist, looks back on his college days. First person narrative technique has been adopted by the author. Read this novel to become aware of the harsh reality, which you cannot escape from.

7. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The key theme of this masterpiece is racism. Harper Lee brilliantly deals with serious issues such as racial inequality and rape under the veil of humor. If you are a literature student, you must have already read this book. If you haven’t yet, then it should be included in your reading list as a priority.

8. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This novel tells a story about a Russian student Raskolnikov. He kills an old pawnbroker and tries to justify his deed. The author beautifully narrates Raskolnikov’s attempts to understand who he is and find his own place in the society.  This book can make you rethink your views regarding moral laws and your place in this society.

9. The Grapes Of Wrath – John Steinbeck

This is a moving tale of an Oklahoma farmer and his family. They were driven from their home. The story recounts their journey to California amidst the Great Depression. The Grapes Of Wrath teaches about friendship, love, courage and resilience.

10. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

You should read this book to understand the disappointment that almost every American felt during jazz age. You can learn how to assess your capabilities by reading this masterpiece. Another great lesson this book teaches is it is better to let the past go as it cannot be returned.

11. 1984 – George Orwell

This is a dystopian novel. Winston Smith who lives in Airstrip One is the main protagonist. This political fiction throws light on the issues like civil conflict, revolution and war. The author portrays a world that is divided between three totalitarian states. You must add this book to your reading list.

12. Lord Of The Files – William Golding

This novel was published in the year of 1954. It depicts the story of a group of young British boys who are stranded on an island and their attempts for governing themselves. It is a morality tale about a broken society. Golding parodies the society in this political allegory. You can get to learn several things from this novel.

13. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

This is a story about forbidden love between a young nymphet and a man. It is full of intrigue and humor. Though it remains controversial today, it can teach us a valuable lesson about sacrifice, understanding, forgiveness and other traits which are very important.

14. Let The Great World Spin – Colum McCann

Lives of an artist, a prostitute, a judge, an Irish immigrant, and a mourning mother are beautifully weaved together by the author. Though their hardships differ, they all have witnessed the Twin Tower Tight-roper. “Let The Great World Spin” conveys the message that everything and everyone connects in the end.

15. A Farewell To Arms – Ernest Hemingway

This novel has World War I at its backdrop. The author portrays the lives of young and naïve boys who became poor infantry. This is a story about a lieutenant, Fredric Henry. You can get to know about the consequences of a war from this classics masterpiece.

16. The Divine Comedy – Dante

There is hardly anyone who has never heard of Dante. He throws light on the nine circles of inferno in the Divine Comedy which is a long narrative poem. It teaches us that we all have to pay for our own sins. Being a college student, you must read this for understanding the view of afterlife.

17. A River Out Of Eden – Richard Dawkins

You should read this book before you graduate. It is an account on the birth of world and its development. You can learn the process of evolution in an interesting way. Most importantly, you will not find this book boring.

18. Paradise Lost – John Milton

We all are aware of the Biblical story about Adam and Eve. Eve was tempted by Lucifer (Satan) and it caused the fall of man. John Milton’s Paradise Lost, an epic poem is concerned with this story. This masterpiece throws light on the different sides of good and bad. You must read this to know who what is right.

19. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

The author mocks the modern totalitarian society in this novel. This is a wicked satire. Anthony Burgess conveys the message that the young generation tends to turn into “clockwork oranges” (obedient to their leaders). For the antagonist, Alex, violence is the high art of life. At the end, he becomes the victim of violence. This is a must-read book for all college students.

20. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the most famous plays, revolves around the question – “To be or not to be”. Hamlet, the protagonist, kills his uncle to take revenge for his father’s death. This play teaches us that we should accept the responsibility for our own deeds and decisions.

21. Civilization and Its Discontents – Sigmund Freud

You should read this book before you graduate. This book records Sigmund Freud’s ideas and views regarding human civilization and culture. If you often wonder, “What is the point of living in this society”, then you will get the answer from this masterpiece.

22. Faust – Johann Von Goethe

This play depicts the supernatural journey of Faust, a classic German legend. He offers his soul to devil for wisdom. The lesson this masterpiece teaches is you should understand the difference between evil and good. You can also get to learn about several myths of ancient history.

23. The Art Of Happiness – Dalai Lama

This book records Dalai Lama’s views and ideas. This is an inspirational book. You should add this to your reading list. You can learn how to be happy in life and how to achieve fulfillment.

24. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Though it falls under the category of children literature, it can teach us a valuable lesson. Charlotte’s Web reminds us that every living creature should be treated generously.

25. The Running Man – Stephen King

This is a science fiction. Stephen King visualizes a dystopian America during the year 2025. The story revolves around Ben Richards who lives in Co-Op city. He does not find any work due to the economic collapse. He takes part in a game show. This novel is perfect reading for every college student.

No matter how much busy you are with your studies, you should find some time to read these books, as “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”.

Read these 25 books to take a break from your hectic schedule and leave your assignments to us!

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